Ozette Triangle is a family friendly classic hike of Washington located in the upper northwest side of Olympic National Park and can be completed as a day hike or overnight backpacking trip. When I completed this trip I was mystified by the unique terrain and care that was put into making the trail accessible and beautiful.
This review is for anyone wanting to complete this trail as a day hike and contains little information about the necessities for backpacking Ozette.
Table of Contents
Ozette Triangle is located on the ancestral lands of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla, Quileute and Makah tribes. We are grateful for the stewards of this land past and present. We are honored to be and recognize that we are guests on this land.
Region: Olympic National Park
Distance: 9.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Time: 4.5 hours +
When to go: Year-Round
Pass/Permit?: America the Beautiful
Dogs Allowed?: No
Facilities?: Bathrooms at Trailhead
Getting to Ozette Triangle
Ozette Triangle is located on the far side of Olympic National Park and is just over 4 hours outside of Seattle. The most direct route is to take the Seattle Ferry to Bainbridge Island.
Information on the ferry system can be found here.
The trailhead for Ozette Triangle is just past the Ozette Ranger Station. There is a large restroom facility as well as freshwater access if you need to fill up any water reservoirs prior to hiking or backpacking. The parking lot for the trailhead is large but as this is a relatively busy trail, in the summers it is always important to get to the trailhead early. This is especially true during high periods of backpacking traffic as cars will be left overnight and parked in spaces for multiple days.
The trail is located in a National Park which means you will need to purchase a day pass for the park or an annual pass. The annual pass is definitely worth the cost if you plan on visiting national parks more than three days within a year. You can purchase an annual pass at a ranger station or you can purchase one here!
Hiking Ozette Triangle
Ozette Triangle is broken into three sections…go figure..it is a triangle.
The direction that you take is entirely up to you! “100 Classic Hikes of Washington” suggested that the first leg of the trip would begin towards Cape Alava. Either way, you will be hiking through two, three mile forest sections and one, three mile beachy section.
Follow the path across the footbridge until you reach the junction. From there you have the option to hike towards Cape Alava or Sand Point. I chose to hike towards Sand Point first, opposite of the recommendation from the book. I did this because I had forgotten that it was suggested, but I was grateful to have the sun at my back during the beach section rather than in my eyes.
This first section of forest was mostly following a boardwalk. There was an occasional step up or down but the trail was predominantly flat. It was wide enough for oncoming hikers to pass with ease. This section of the trail passed by quickly and eventually we were emerging out onto Sand Point.
At Sand Point there are some campsites and plenty of washed up logs to take a rest. This was a great lunch spot as it was about noon by the time we completed the four and a half hour drive to the trail from Seattle and completed the three miles to Sand Point. Sand Point is a great area to explore and on a hot day an especially great area to get in the water to cool off.
Continuing north towards Cape Alava, the beach walk is sandy and at times rocky. There were a number of large trees blown down across the beach that created an obstacle for either hiking around, over, or under.
Looking for another trail in Olympic National Park? Check Out Toleak Point
As with any beach hike, tides need to be considered. While most of the hike can be completed without consideration of the tides, there is a rocky area about four and a half miles into the hike that will require the use of an overland if crossing at anything other than low tide.
The rocky areas along this trail can become dangerously slippery but they can also be greatly rewarding as they are home to some spectacular tidal pools. Be sure to take time to look in the shallow pools for sea stars, urchins, sea anemones and, if you’re extremely lucky, an east pacific red octopus.
Pay attention to your trail map because just under five miles you’ll reach wedding rocks which have ancient Native American petroglyphs. They’re easy to miss but they depict stories of whales from the Makah tribe.
After reaching the end of the beach section there is a short incline up a sand bar where a collection of campsites are and the last section of trail. The beach section of this trail is definitely tiring!
The last section of the hike is through another forest section. Just like the first forest section, it is mostly along a boardwalk. However there are a number of sections that are under repair. Depending on the time of year that you complete this trail, it might be muddy on the bare trail.
Should Ozette Triangle be a 100 Classic Hike?
This should absolutely be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington. The trail is beautiful along the entire route and gives hikers a glimpse of two of the types of environments that makes the Olympics special, the coast and temperate rainforest.
The trail also allows hikers to see some historical petroglyphs along the trail.